The Blogging Dead: Castle Rock – Episode 5: Harvest

I’d said that the ending of the previous episode would have made national news, but based on what we see in this one, it only made the local news. Halfway through they hold a memorial for the people who lost their lives.

It was a mass shooting at Shawshank. One thing I liked was that they actually had it effect the characters. Henry was right next to a gun that went off, and it was a major plot point in this episode that he was having hearing issues because of it.

As for The Kid, he was released from prison, and now I’m really interested to see what happens. I still don’t know if he’s a good character like John Coffee or a bad character like Henry Bowers. He had several opportunities to kill this episode but never did.

There was several times when I thought more people was going to die, major characters, but they didn’t. It ended on a cliffhanger with a gun being pointed at someone’s head, but I doubt the trigger will be pulled. Of course, I could be very wrong. Will have to wait and see.

I love how with each episode you never know what’s going to happen. Because so much happens and there are no filler episodes. If you miss an episode you’ll be totally lost.

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The Blogging Dead: Castle Rock – Episode 4: The Box

The mystery of this show went deeper this episode. Henry Deaver may have met the person who possibly kidnapped him back in 1991. Molly came close to telling Henry the truth about his father’s death. Dennis finally snaps…….

I want to go into detail, but I feel anything I say getting more specific would be spoilery. I know if someone has read this far into my review series they’ve likely either seen it or doesn’t care about spoilers.

There’s going to be ten episodes in the season, and I’m not even halfway through. New episodes air every Wednesday on Hulu, and episode eight went up yesterday. I’m way behind, yet can’t seem to catch up. I’m wanting to space it out, but also wanting to know what happens in the rest of the season. If they’re revealing this much only four episodes in, where does the rest of the season go?

But I will say that the way this episode ends was very shocking, and seriously will effect how the rest of the season will go. Up until that moment, the shows been kind of a low-key story, but something happens that would have made the national news in that universe. So I’m really interested where this is going.

The Blogging Dead: Castle Rock – Episode 3: Local Color

With the third episode of Castle Rock, smaller story arches and characters are beginning to become more important. In the first episode, there was a moment where someone (Molly) sees Henry and drives the other direction. It’s clear the two have a history together, but we don’t learn what it is until now.

In fact, this episode almost exclusively centered on her. We finally learn why she did certain things in the previous two episodes. It’s actually a little hard to tell what’s real when it focuses on her. She has essentially the same thing Carrie had (and seeing as this is Stephen King, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the same thing).

At the end of the episode, Henry and The Kid finally meet face-to-face after all this time. Thanks to Molly, He’s going to be able to have him as a client.

Where the first episode set up the story and characters, and the second episode felt like it was playing around with references and pacing things out (not to say it was a filler episode, it was just developing the characters more), this one really began to dive into the story more.

The Blogging Dead: Castle Rock – Episode 2: Habeas Corpus

Where the first episode of Castle Rock sets up the story and characters, the second episode expands on them. I feel this will be a show with no filler episodes. In fact, there appears to be multiple stories going on at once. So much happened it’s actually difficult to summarise it all in one post.

One thing I noticed and absolutely loved was the references to other Stephen King stories. It’s not just inconsequential things, like a clown doll in the background that might represent Pennywise or something like that. These references are part of the story and adds to the believability of this world.

There’s a flashback where the narrator of the episode says, “It was the year after the body of that boy was found by the tracks”, referencing The Body, which when it was made into a movie was renamed Stand By Me. During another scene, a character is flipping through newspaper clippings and one of them mentions a rabid dog ravaging the town, which sounds an awful lot like Cujo. There could have been more references in the news clippings, but that’s the only one I noticed.

But if it was just a show of references, it might not be very good. The original stories they are telling here make it more than worth it to watch. They do a great job at showing that the town itself is cursed, much like Derry. I really can’t wait to find out where this is all leading. They’re giving us a bunch of plot threads, and if I know Stephen King as well as I think I do, I know he’s not just going to leave us hanging. He might let us dangle for a bit, but he’ll eventually pull all the threads together.

The Blogging Dead: Castle Rock – Episode 1: Severance

I haven’t even finished reviewing my first Stephen King Hulu Original, and here I go starting another. I haven’t even done the second episode of 11.22.63. I plan to, believe me. But I have really been wanting to watch this series ever since I heard about it.

Castle Rock is based on the world of Stephen King. Not based on any particular book or anything he wrote, but basically the world itself. You know how people talk about the Stephen King Universe? Well, this is basically that idea turned into a show.

What’s kind of funny is that I’ve been planning on watching this series so much that I kept telling myself that I am currently watching it. To the point where I even told Kim Kardashian that I was currently watching it.

Kim

After I sent that tweet I realised that I actually hadn’t even watched it at all, so decided I may as well change that.

Even though I was expecting it to be good, I was for some reason expecting it to be over-the-top. Like the acting in Langoliers  or something. But luckily, it wasn’t that kind of entertaining. They opted to go the “good writing” route this time. And it pays off, because the first episode was great. It basically sets up the story and characters, which is all a first episode should really do.

Honestly, I was kind of hoping for a Stephen King anthology series, like a Twilight Zone or something. That way, they could branch out and tell some of the more over-the-top stories without ruining the more down-to-earth stories. But this works as well.

The show includes several actors from past Stephen King films. Most notably Sissy Spacek (Carrie from the original Carrie) and Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise in the 2017 remake of IT).I recognized others, but those are the two biggest ones I knew.

Unlike 11.22.63, I plan on finishing this one soon. I think the reason I haven’t continued that one is because I just watched it a couple years ago and only watched the first episode again because I was bored. I will finish that review someday, though.

The Blogging Dead: 11.22.63 – 1. The Rabbit Hole

Well, this is an unexpected change. When I started this episodic review series, I was planning on just reviewing new shows as they air or as I watch them. But there’s not a whole lot that’s on that I want to watch. I watch The Walking Dead, but it’d feel weird to start reviewing it nine seasons in.

I read 11/22/63 by Stephen King back in November 2015, while I was in the hospital. Halfway through it I found out that they were turning it into a miniseries on Hulu produced by J. J. Abrams and starring James Franco. That’s, like, four of my favourite things at once! (J. J., James Franco, Stephen King, and…….the Kennedy Assassination……….)

I watched it in 2016 as it was airing, but I didn’t review it then. I started rewatching it today because I was bored, and near the end of the episode I decided to review it here! Which changes what this series is for me. Now I can review older things, not just new shows. That’s mainly what I watch, anyway. Older shows.

Anyway, there was a bunch of changes made to the story. Which is understandable, seeing as it’s an 849 page book that they were adapting into an eight episode miniseries. Some changes had to be made. But things were added that weren’t in the book which makes me question why they did that. Why take things out for time, but then add more things in.

But I’m rambling.

The story starts with Harry Dunning telling his story, much like the book did. Then it rushes Jake Epping (James Franco) to the diner for everything to happen.

In the book, Al Templeton and Jake spend several days, up to a week, planning Jake’s trip back to 1958. Jake goes and rescues a little girl, then saves Harry as a kid, then comes back to see how it effected the present.

In the miniseries, it’s over night. Jake finds out, Al somehow tells Jake everything he needs to know in one sitting, Al dies, Jake goes on the long trip the first time. Also now it’s 1960.

It might not seem like a big deal, but in the book there’s more story there, and it feels like Stephen King planned everything out better. Even though King is an executive producer on the show, it feels like everything is rushed to make it fit into the first episode. But the first episode is an hour an a half long, and he goes to 1960 half an hour in. The rest of the episode is him tailing someone Al suspects told Lee Harvey Oswald to kill Kennedy.

They easily could have slowed it down and spent the hour and a half doing the first trip, him coming back, and preparing for the second, longer trip.

But I don’t want to be one of those people who are like, “This is how they should have done it”. Even though I technically just did that.

Book aside, it was a very good first episode. They really get the feeling of the era down. For the book, Stephen King spent several years researching every minute detail, and it’s obvious they attempted to do the same for the show.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Season 2, Episode 10

As Anne says at the beginning of the episode, “Nothing is ever going to be the same”.

They didn’t wrap up everything, which is good because they need to leave something to come back to. Unfortunately, they tried to give the season a happy ending, which gave it a series finale vibe. As if they were afraid it wouldn’t get renewed for a third season, so they didn’t want to leave things depressing.

But things could have very well ended that way. The way the previous episode ended, it felt like this was going to be a very dark episode. But the sort-of-cliffhanger from that was resolved within minutes of this one. There was still a hearing to decide whether or not to fire Muriel, but the fallout from the fight only lasted a couple minutes.

Instead of addressing the episode itself, I will address the series as a whole. Thus far I am very much enjoying it, and I hope they continue for several more seasons.

However, I have been seeing articles basically bashing it for the modern changes they’ve made to the source material. Namely, adding gay and non-white characters. I’ve actually seen a couple people complaining about this, claiming they’re turning Anne of Green Gables into “SJW propaganda”.

What I have to say about that is, I’m honestly glad they’re willing to try something like that. Anne of Green Gables has been adapted so many times, there’s a massive “Adaptation” section on the Wikipedia page. If they just did a direct book-to-screen, that’d be boring because we’ve already seen that. This version took the original book and decided to give us something fresh with the old story we all know. I’m glad I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’d be bored and stop watching if I was watching going, “Oh, this is the part where this happens. Ah, now that’s happening. Then that mean that…yes, this other thing is happening!”.

Anne With An E checks all the boxes, but it also makes it’s own along the way. It adds characters, but they’re not wasted background characters. You care about them, and they further the story. They serve a purpose. As for the complaints that they’re trying to make Anne of Green Gables “woke”, what’s wrong with adding a bit of reality to the story?

There were gay people back then. They weren’t open about it like they are today, because it was literally illegal, but they definitely existed. They even include that in the story. Cole is afraid when he realises he’s gay, because it’s illegal. This article explains that they included a bunch of history by including those details, such as Boston marriages and Cécile Chaminade. I’ve never heard of any of that before, as they’re not talked about these days.

I know that I am definitely excited about the future of this series, and I can’t wait until season 3. Unfortunately, as I watched it as soon as it was released, and Netflix releases entire seasons at once, I have to wait an entire year for the next part of the story.

If you want to enjoy the original story that started it all, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery is available for free via Kindle, as it’s in the public domain. Speaking of which, the entire Anne Shirley series is available for free via Project Gutenberg. They cover her entire life, and I highly recommend them.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Season 2, Episode 9

I must say, this show can be downright epic when it wants to be. For this episode, it most certainly wanted to be. What starts off as a lighthearted introduction to the new school teacher, ends with so much changing by the end of the episode.

Muriel Stacey was the much beloved school teacher from the books and, most noteably for me, the Sullivan films. For this version, they reimagined the character in a sense. She’s still out of place in Avonlea, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

The reaction of the residents to her is rather comical, especially by today’s standards. She was deemed unfit to teach by the community because of things such as her not wearing a corset, her house being a mess (even though she was still in the process of moving in, and also wasn’t expecting guests), and for being a woman. Yes, apparently a female teacher was a taboo thing back then, and they took a huge risk getting her hired.

But it doesn’t take long for her to win over Marilla, who witnesses her make electricity out of potatoes. The other parents see this as well, but instead of seeing how important this was, insisted that it was a circus act.

When things turned to the dramatic is when Anne showed Marilla and Muriel her secret place. Through the course of the series, she’s had this hideout place she and her friends would go to share stories and just get away from everything. Cole has been spending a lot of time there over the last couple episodes.

That night, Billy Andrews, the bully at school, and his friends happen through there and smash everything. I mean everything. There is nothing left. Anne and Cole appear the next morning, and Cole is angry at her for sharing the spot with Muriel, because she told his family he hadn’t been going to school. He realised it had been Billy who had smashed the place and went back to the schoolhouse and attacked him, ending with Billy seriously injured.

That’s when the episode ended, but I haven’t even discussed Sebastian’s story. He ends up leaving Gilbert’s farm because he is fed up of Gilbert not including him in his plans. he goes to live with the person who housed them then they went to Charlottetown. What will happen now?

One episode left in the season, and I don’t think everything can be wrapped up in one episode, so I am already hoping for a third season.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Season 2, Episode 8

After the last episode, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to guess where it was going to go, because I was likely going to be wrong. Well, We finally got to the race issues I predicted.

Sebastian had a sore tooth, so he pulls it. But it gets infected, so he goes into Avonlea to have it looked at. He’s told his kind isn’t welcome there. Standard racism stuff. When it really gets intense was when he and Gilbert tried to board a train to Charlottetown. Even though they had tickets they had paid for, they were almost not allowed to board. Luckily, Marilla just happened to be on the train and acted like she’d been waiting for them.

But it’s good to know that not everyone in this universe are racist barbarians. When Gilbert takes Sebastian to his late father’s old doctor in Charlottetown, the doctor doesn’t hesitate to help him and fixes his infected mouth.

Afterward, Sebastian goes to where he was told “his kind” are. He’s excited to see other blacks, because he was thinking of his home in Trinidad. Unfortunately, he quickly found out that in North America blacks aren’t treated the way he was hoping. I don’t know where this particular story arch is going, but it looked like he got a surprise wake up call, and they could be setting up him being some sort of advocate or something. I think Sebastian might be one of my favourite new characters, so I’m really interested to find out what they do with his character.

Speaking of new characters, Cole finally stands up for himself! That might not mean anything to those who have only been going by my reviews, because I didn’t realise how important he was going to be so I hadn’t mentioned him until yesterday’s review. Well, he had a major moment this time when he stood up to Mr. Philips! Another character I failed to mention. He was courting one of his students, Prissy. Again, I hadn’t been mentioning that.

I say all of this to show that it’s hard to tell where this show is going to go. I’ve only been mentioning the aspects I thought would be important later, but turns out there are loads of things that have been going on that I never anticipated being very important. There’s two episodes left in this season, and there’s no telling what’s going to happen. You could tell me that aliens land and give them a book called “To Serve Man” that explains how to serve people (plot twist; it’s a cook book!) and I would believe you.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Seasons 2, Episode 7

I thought the show was going one way, then it abruptly goes another way. Based on the foreshadowing I mentioned in the last episode, I assumed this one would be about the residents of Avonlea being racist towards Sebastian.

Instead, it was about Anne, Diana, and Cole (a new character this season I’ve yet to mention because he wasn’t particularly important, but I think they’re setting him up to be one of the main characters) going to Diana’s Aunt Josephine’s house for a party. There’s they learn that she was gay, and her lover, Gertrude, had passed away the year previously.

Diana is horrified at this realization, herself being raised a traditionalist. At the beginning of the episode, someone said that she’s really good at the piano and asked when her career as a pianist was going to begin, and she responded that it would depend if her future husband allowed it.

Anne, unsurprisingly, immediately accepts it. When Diana says “It’s not natural!”, and responds, “What’s more natural than love?”.

Cole has been presented as rather feminine, which I honestly didn’t think anything of until this episode. Near the end of the episode, he tells Josephine, “I think I’m like you and Gertrude”.

So now I’m thinking that this will be something that becomes an issue later, because Diana’s parents don’t know yet. I can imagine that they will take it even worse than Diana did.

There was also a side story about Marilla falling ill and Matthew taking care of her. The two of them have flashbacks to when they were younger and their mother was in the same predicament, but she gave up and passed away. Matthew gives Marilla a pep talk about how she shouldn’t give up, because she’s stronger than their mother was. Marilla doesn’t really begin to recover until Anne returns from Josephine’s at the end of the episode.

While the character development of Matthew and Marilla was interesting, the story at Josephine’s was more interesting, so both stories kind of clashed a little. I actually forgot all about their story until now, which is why I hadn’t mentioned it before and waited this long into the review.

Each episode is full of surprises. You think it’s going to go one way, then it goes another. I like this over it being predictable. Then it’d get boring.